The Netherlands' center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte is on course for a resounding victory over anti-Islam and anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election offering huge relief to other EU governments facing a wave of nationalism. Ryan Brooks reports.
The Netherlands' centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte roundly saw off a challenge by anti-Islam, anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election on Wednesday (March 15), early returns showed, a huge relief to other EU governments facing a wave of nationalism. With nearly 11 percent of votes counted, Rutte's VVD Party was projected to win 32 of parliament's 150 seats, down from 41 at the last vote in 2012, but ahead of Wilders who was in third place at 20 seats, according to data provided by the ANP Dutch news agency. The result was a relief to mainstream parties across Europe, particularly in France and Germany, where right-wing nationalists hope to make a big impact in elections this year, potentially posing an existential threat to the EU. Wilders congratulated Rutte on his victory in Wednesday's parliamentary election, promising firm parliamentary opposition if he did not end up in the coalition.